Monday, December 30, 2019

Recently Read

Hi everybody!  Long time no see!  I thought I'd pop by with a Recently Read.   As usual, read 'em if you wanna.

1.  Nomads of a Desert City by Barbara Seyda - Nonfiction; vignettes of homeless people in Tuscon.  Told in their own words, these stories are striking.  A quick read that will stay in your mind afterward.

2.  Winds of Skilak by Bonnie Rose Ward - Memoir of homesteading in Alaska in the 1980s.  Lots of details and very interesting.

3. Southern Discomfort by Tena Clark - Memoir of a young woman growing up in the South in the 60s.  Really good. I grew up in the 60s, too, and this book really brought home just how entrenched racism was in the South back then.   But the book's not "just" about racism - it's about dealing with family nutcases, and trying to find your footing when you're different from those around you.

4. The Once and Future King by T.H. White - Described as a "fantasy classic" in the vein of The Hobbit, etc., I was plugging along on this one until a scene describing the brutal death of a cat and then I noped noped noped right out. Did not finish.

5.  City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert - I didn't realize who the author was until I took it home from the library.  Unfortunately, I find the author of  "Eat, Pray, Love" to be absolutely insufferable, so I only got far enough in this one to see that she was basically working from a genre checklist, and put it aside. Did not finish.

6. The Boy Kings of Texas by Domingo Martinez - Memoir of growing up poor in a Texas border town in the 70s and 80s.  Good.

7.  Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts - Novel about the writing of the Wizard and Oz and, years later, the making of the movie.  Very good - I really enjoyed it.

8.  The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora - Novel about two high school friends, one famous and one unbalanced, and what happens when they meet again in adulthood.  This got good reviews so I gave it a shot.  An okay read.

9.  City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay.  This was a historical novel about Hollywood in the 1920s by the author of The Tumbling Turner Sisters.  I enjoyed it a lot; a fast-paced, light read.

10.  The Able McLaughlins - Pulitzer-prize winning novel from the 20s about early settlers in the midwest.  Right up my alley, but it just seemed awfully dated.  Did not finish.

11.  Freeman by Leonard Pitts, Jr.  - Novel by the noted columnist about the aftereffects of the Civil War on former slaves and an abolitionist.  Involving and good.

12.  All the Forgivenesses by Elizabeth Hardinger - Novel about growing up extremely poor in Kentucky.  Very good.

13.  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - Historical novel about the childhood of a little girl placed on an orphan train in the late 1800s.  Good.

14.  Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell - Novel about a teen traveling on a river after events break up her family.  Started out strong, but became more improbable and less interesting as it went along.  Did not finish.

15.  Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens.  The first half of this novel was fabulous, detailing a young woman growing up wild in North Carolina marshland.  But then it turned into a poorly-dialogued murder mystery, and I lost interest.  Did not finish.

16.  One Day by Gene Weingarten - Nonfiction consisting of short vignettes about defining moments in people's lives.  I LOVED I Thought My Father Was God by Paul Auster, which had a similar premise, but unfortunately One Day had a very strong Paul-Harvey-The-Rest-of-the-Story vibe to it, unlike Paul Auster's book, which just let people tell their stories, so while One Day was an okay read, it was just that - okay.  And one of the vignettes, about spousal abuse, was frankly so horrifying that I put the book down and walked away.  Did not finish.

17.  The Speed Queen by Stewart O'Nan - A previous book of his, Last Night at the Lobster, showed that O'Nan has a real talent for writing about marginalized people, and I really enjoyed The Speed Queen, a novel about a young woman sitting on death row for crimes she was party to.  Very good - I really liked this one.

So there you go!  A long-delayed Recently Read.  What have you been reading lately?

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Are you ready for the Fair?!

Yep - it's that time of year again - the great New York State Fair!  I took a day off work and went up with a friend.

We watched some of the 4H judging:

and some of the horse-jumping competition:

We fed the giraffes:

We saw the Birds of Prey exhibit:

Lunch was pulled pork and sausage sandwiches:

We gawked at birds and they gawked back:

We saw lambs with coats on:

And we wrapped up the day with an aerial tram ride that took us up and over the midway:

According to Patti's fitbit, we walked just over seven miles, and it was worth every step.   Another perfect day at the Fair. :)

Friday, August 02, 2019

Foster Camp Update!

Let's see, I think I made a brief reference in an earlier post to the new Foster Campers.  I think it's time for an update.

The campers I had been fostering for the rescue for which I had been volunteering (lots of past tense, there), went to my friend Sarah's house so that I could put Good Boy in the foster room while I worked on smoothing his integration into the Permacats.

Once THAT was accomplished, I realized it was time to look for a new rescue to devote my volunteering efforts toward.  While the rescue I had been volunteering for certainly accomplishes lots of good things, their colossal failure of the Good Boy situation left a bad taste in my mouth.  The founder of the rescue never apologized for what happened to Good Boy, instead throwing one of the other volunteers, a good friend of hers, under the bus, blame-wise, and when I called her out on THAT, she resorted to bullying tactics to try to keep me in line.  Oh, hi, have you ever MET me?!  The one thing that will NEVER work on me is bullying. :) 

So I went to another local rescue and filled out the volunteer foster paperwork, and within a day they called me, which is how I got Toby Thomas, a scared-to-death feral kitten who needed LOTS of forced handling to tame.  He was 12 weeks old when I got him, which is old to try to tame a feral, but with time and work he came around.

But Toby was lonely, and still not fond of human contact.  What to do? Why, go to the rescue and bring home a kitten to show him the ropes, of course!  Which is where Nani came into the picture:

And then I started trapping for TNR in a neighborhood, and I noticed a tiny little kitten running around in the street. I asked the people I was trapping for to try and catch him, because I thought he was young enough to successfully socialize, and he was so terribly thin I was worried about him.  On Wednesday night, I had to go out to trap, and we managed to get the kitten into a carrier. I took him home, kept him separated from the other cats because due to his poor condition I was worried about feline leukemia, and took him to the vet the next morning.

He tested negative for leukemia (yaaaay!), but was crawling with fleas and ear mites and loaded with worms.  Several medications and a bath later, he's here at Foster Camp to gain some weight and get used to human attention.   And I've named him Two Miles, after the location where he was trapped.

So there you have it! Foster Campers, Summer 2019 Session:  Toby Thomas, Nani, and Two Miles.  :)

Monday, July 22, 2019

Where does the money go

 First off, thank you to Ginny!  For sending me a gift card to commemorate the arrival of Good Boy, which I promptly spent on this:

I mean, COME ON!! How cute is THAT?!

Since my sister left me money, the vast majority of it has been reinvested.  But I've been able to spend some of it in a "why not?" kind of way, like,

I sponsored a matching fundraiser for a local animal rescue, which raised almost three grand!

When an acquaintance of mine's mom passed away very unexpectedly, leaving my acquaintance to ponder the realities of, among other things, going from a three cat household to a six cat household, I placed a massive Chewy order and had it delivered to her, so at least she didn't have to worry about buying cat food and litter for a while.

I saw a facebook post in which a local wildlife rehabilitation outfit had trapped a small feral kitten for TNR, only to discover that the kitten had a prolapsed rectum and would need three hundred dollars' worth of surgery to correct the problem. The comments on that post were pretty dismaying, along the lines of "why bother? It's just a feral," and "do you KNOW how many spays and neuters three hundred dollars will pay for?", neither of which, as far as I was concerned, addressed the problem at hand, which was a little kitten with a correctable problem, so I contacted the outfit and paid the bill.  Take THAT, haters.  Haha.

I finally, FINALLY got t-shirts printed up for the little TNR group I run, and I'll be handing them out to the volunteers, i.e., my friends that I've sucked into helping, the next time we trap, which is coming up in a couple of weeks.
And finally, most of you know that I love summer.  I REALLY love summer.  And I love hot weather, as evidenced by the fact that yesterday it was approximately a thousand degrees here with one billion percent humidity, and I went and paddled a local river for three hours.
But!  What I DON'T love about summer is the nights when the temp doesn't leave the seventies and it's still one billion percent humidity, and all the fans in the world won't stop me from lying in my bed sweating.
So this morning I contacted my furnace guy, who also does plumbing and AC, to see about getting central air installed.  BECAUSE I CAN.  
And THAT's where the money goes.  :)  

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Vacation, all I ever dreamed of

I've been on vacation for the last week and a half, and it's been awesome!  Beautiful weather.  God, I love summertime.

I dressed Good Boy up for the Fourth, because there's nothing better than a cat who will let you outfit him ridiculously:

Went to the Cornell Botanical Gardens for a day that was hot and humid and almost melted me:

Thank you Ginny for the new lawn art!:

The turk's cap lilies in my own garden aren't blooming yet, but I was lucky enough to find some wild ones to photograph:

Here I am at the Rockwell Museum in Corning, posing in front of a picture I absolutely painted myself using a Bob Ross video:

I walked a lot of waterfalls:

What's this?  Looks like Foster Camp is back in session!  

That is a potato chip in his carrier. Because people are dipshits.

And then there were two:

You'd better believe there was lots of paddling:

and snakes!

What a great time.  And the State Fair is just around the corner!   Summer is the best.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Gonna take you down to ... Dino Towwwwwwwn

About a week ago, I saw this in a store and could not resist:

 This?  Is gonna take a while:

It's Alive!:

How cool is THIS?!:

""Look what the cat dragged in," my butt!", Pony says.  "*I* didn't bring this thing home!":

"He DOES make lots of shade, though,":

"Say hello to my little friend":

Sodapop is decidedly unimpressed.  "Outta my way, buddy, coming through."

2019:  Summer of the Dino. :) 

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Good Boy Chronicles: Step By Step

First off, I'd like to thank everyone for your relocation ideas - very helpful!  You've definitely given me a lot to think about.  Feel free to keep adding suggestions!

I realized today that I haven't posted about Good Boy since his dramatic rescue, so let's get caught up, shall we?

One of the first things I did was take Good Boy to my own vet.  Seeing as the rescue does not follow as stringent a vaccination schedule as my own vet does, I wanted to take him in for a get-acquainted visit and to see what the vet recommended as far as further vaccinations.  I know that opinions vary widely on this topic, but it makes me feel better to err on the side of caution.  Are cats over-vaccinated?  Possibly.  Do I still follow my vet's recommendations?  Yes.

Long story short:  Sorry, bud, you're getting the needle.

At home, I kept him in the foster room full time at first. Given his iffy past history with permacat Tinks, I knew I was going to have to take things slow as far as introducing him to the other cats.  But I would be lying if I said I wasn't VERY happy to finally have a cat who would let me dress him up in ridiculous costumes:

Time to explore:

We did site-swapping ala Jackson Galaxy at first.  I would only let Good Boy into a room when the permacats were elsewhere.  That way he could get the lay of the land without having to deal with cat drama.

"Well, there's the birdfeeder, but where's the birds, lady?"

 Blind date time.  "Do you eat here often?"

 I started introducing the cats at mealtimes, one at a time, at first placing the bowls on opposite sides of the kitchen, and gradually moving them closer and closer.  I doubt they'll ever be eating the same strand of spaghetti like Lady and the Tramp, but they can peacefully eat side by side.

The only glitch so far is that Good Boy is so eager to hang out with the other cats, and he's so big and, well, clumsy, that he tends to galumph toward them at full speed, and they get scared and vamoose.

Long story short:  It's going fine, if slowly. I'm so determined to do this right, as opposed to my usual modus operandi, which is slapdash and half-assed, that so far all is well.  Nobody is overly stressed, there has been no major cat drama, and I'm hoping that soon, it'll be like Good Boy has been here all along. 

What's one more, anyway?  :) 

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Sell me on your city!

As some of you know, I'm planning on relocating within the next few years. Upstate New York is absolutely beautiful in the summertime, but the winters?  No way.  The older I get, the more tired I am of dealing with cold and snow and terrible, icy roads several months of the year.

So!  To where should I move?  Definitely south, probably quite a BIT south.  And here's where I could use your opinions.  Where do YOU live?  Do you like it, and why?  Is the climate temperate?  How about the cost of living?  Crime rate?

My current neighborhood is in a semi-rural area not far from a small-ish city, and that's kind of what I'm looking for, but without the ice and snow.  But if you live someplace completely DIFFERENT from that and absolutely love it, I wanna hear about that, too!

Sell me on your city!  your county!  your state!  What do you love about where you live?

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Soggy Sunday at Salt Springs

It was raining pretty good this morning, but I decided to go for a hike anyway.  Around here, if I waited for the rain to stop before I went outside, I'd never leave the house.  So I grabbed a raincoat and off I went.

In a steady rain, I pulled into the parking lot at Salt Springs State Park to discover it ... empty.  Good!  More park for me. :)

Due to recent severe storms and flash flooding, the main picnic area was no more:

And the creek bridge which leads to most of the trails had been washed away and replaced with ... a rope handrail.  I crossed over on the rocks.  Onward! 

All the rain has made things green green green:

And I swear the rain makes bright things look even brighter:

An old favorite, Penny Rock:

I thought the orange part of this fungus would be slimy, but it was firm and smooth instead:

This big ol' tree had grown across a bigger rock:

In bloom:

Heart rock, in the midst of all the flood damage:

and raindrops on the flowers:

By the time I was done hiking, my boots and socks were soaked and my jeans were wet up to my knees, but that's okay.  It still was a good walk.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Well, if that don't beat all

Some of you may recall that I was hired for my current job in a provisional capacity, meaning that the next time the civil service exam for my position was offered in my area, I would need to take the test and finish in the top three positions in order to become a permanent hire.

Back in early March I took the exam.  Then, last month, still without knowing the results, I had to take a typing test, which is a requirement for the position.  I was surprised to find out that the passing requirement was only 45 words per minute, and even MORE surprised to find out that only nine of the original 20 applicants for the position passed the typing portion (which is graded immediately upon completion of the test).  Whoa.  But at least now I knew that I was one of only nine.

And then I waited. And waited some more.  And then, yesterday, the results were in.

Not only did I pass the exam, and not only did I finish in the top three positions,


A perfect score.  The ONLY ONE.  The next closest applicants were ten points behind.


Now, I'll be honest here, the stakes for me were not as high as they once would have been, but still, this had become a matter of pride for me.  I really, really wanted to do well on the test, just to prove to myself that I COULD.  It had, after all, been many, many years since I had had to sit for an exam.

 But I did it!  and I ACED it.


Monday, May 20, 2019

It's just all so ... strange (edited because I realized I forgot some very important stuff)

First of all, Good Boy continues to do well!  He's been to see my vet and did fine, and I think I'm probably going to try introducing him into Gen Pop this coming weekend.  We'll see how it goes!

And thank you so much to Ginny for the gift card so that I can pick out something special for him and let him know that it's from Aunt Ginny. :)

Thank you also to those who donated to the matching Facebook fundraiser I did for the rescue!  Together we raised almost $3,000.00 in memory of Arline!  I am currently looking for some smaller, up-and-coming local rescues who could use a wee bit of financial assistance.  All in my sister's name, of course. 

Ponyboy about gave me a heart attack the other day - I was petting him and felt an odd, hard LUMP in his belly.  Given his medical history, I took him to the vet right away, and it turned out that he had somehow managed to bruise his "xiphoid process".  Go ahead, google it, I'll wait ...

Leave it to PB to damage something I didn't even know EXISTED.  But he's doing great and will make a full recovery.

Now to the strange part ... well, first off, not being able to talk to my sister, of course.  I really, really miss just being able to pick up the phone and ... you know.  Anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows how tough that is. 

The other strange thing?  The money.  It just seems so WEIRD to have All. This. Money., and not to be able to talk about it.  I mean, talking about money is just kind of ... gauche, isn't it?  Not done?  Especially since I did absolutely nothing to actually EARN this money?

But, I mean, every month I open up the statements from my investment accounts and I just want to do a happy dance.  I understand, of course, that investments go up and go down, but right now, well ... my investment accounts earned more money in the first four months of 2019 than I will earn all YEAR at my job.


(And yes, these are solid investments - mutual funds and such - with an established firm with a proven track record of many decades.  No, I am not investing in oil wells in Texas or Nigerian princes.  It's all on the level.)

So I've got this money, and it's making MORE money, and it's all just such a KICK, and I ...can't really talk about it.  Except to YOU, of course.  I'm so glad I have you guys!

Don't hate me because I have money, okay?  :)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Easter Sunday, Taughannock Falls

First off, for all who are wondering, Good Boy is doing great!  He is chilling in the foster room, because I want to take introductions to the other cats very slooooowly.  But he is happy as a clam and purring it up. :)

Easter Sunday dawned cold and rainy, as so much of this spring has been.  So I decided a little road trip was in order.  Because why not?  Time to do some hiking.

Well, THIS looks promising!  :)

Stairs. Why does it always have to be stairs?:

Before you can see the falls, you can hear them:

These guys brought their shovels:

Past the main falls are the upper falls:

And the main event:

I headed across the street to the marina, empty this time of year:

and the lake:

and something totally unexpected:  Loons!

But soon enough it was time to head home, with a stop for Easter dinner:

A fine Easter Sunday, indeed.